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Green Thumb Tips

Echterís Plant Doctors are available during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.
 

Flower Gardens
Check your gladiolus, dahlia and canna bulbs you have stored to make sure the media in which they are stored is still moist.
 
Perennials & Roses
Be sure that the winter mulch around your perennials, roses and bulb beds is still in place. Replace mulch that has been blown away by heavy winds.
 
Cut the seed heads from your ornamental grasses and use them to make very attractive dried flower arrangements in your house.
 
 
Lawns
Water your lawn with a sprinkler during long stretches of mild dry weather. Be sure to disconnect the hose and put it away before the weather drops below freezing again.
 

Vegetable Gardens
January and February are the best months to purchase your flower and vegetable seed. The best availability and selection is early.
 
Take inventory of your seed starting supplies, such as pots, soil, and flats. Sterilize any that you have
used before or purchase new supplies. Be ready so that you will have everything you need for a successful project.
 
 

Trees & Shrubs
Knock down heavy snows from your shrubs and tree branches by gently pushing up with a broom. Start
with the lower branches and work your way up the tree or shrub.

It is very important to keep your lawns, trees, shrubs, perennial and bulb beds watered once a month throughout the winter as weather permits. You will reduce the chance of root damage on perennials, trees and shrubs and reduce insect population and disease problems in your lawn next year.
 
When shoveling snow from your sidewalks and driveways, pile the snow around trees, shrubs and perennial plants instead of out in the street as long you have not used chemicals or salt to melt the ice. These plants will benefit from the added moisture.
 

Indoor Plants
If a houseplant is not doing well, check these five growing factors: light, temperature, nutrients, moisture, and humidity. They must be favorable to provide good growth. Bring the plant in to our plant doctors if you need help with a diagnosis.
 
Keep holiday cacti blooming by keeping them in a cooler location with bright sun. You can move them outdoors in summer in a semi-shaded location. Then bring them in next fall for reblooming.
 
Cyclamen are great plants for brightening your home in winter. They prefer a cool, dry and bright place.
The pink, red, white or maroon flowers will continue for weeks.
Grow your own herbs inside. Either from seeds or plants, there is nothing like fresh herbs for all kinds of winter dishes, like soup, stews, and many other comfort dishes for those cold winter days.
   
Keep your poinsettia blooming after the holidays by providing proper care. Poinsettias need good drainage, so if the pot is still wrapped in foil, remove the foil or make a hole in the bottom to allow the water to drain out. Keep the soil moist, but don't overwater. Place your plant in a cool, (60 to 65 degrees F.) location that gets plenty of light. Keep out of warm or cool drafts, and fertilize once a month.
 
If you have a problem with those very annoying fungus gnats coming from the soil under your houseplants, let your plants dry out down to at least 1 inch before watering them. Gnats thrive in moist soil and multiply. Quick Kill Mosquito Bits with Bti, a biological pesticide will control them in the larval stage. Applying a pyrethrum or permethrin to the soil will reduce their numbers. Whitefly sticky traps will also catch those that come out of the soil.
 
African violets bloom better when surrounded by other African violets. The more the merrier.
 

Birds

Echter's offers many seed mixes for all types of birds who are seed eaters. Individual types of seed are also popular and there is a great selection to choose from. Sunflower seed, safflower seed and nyjer seed are among the favorite choices. Insect-eating birds such as flickers and nuthatches have a taste for suet and peanut butter rather than seed, so be sure to consider their needs as well.

Ever wonder about how the birds protect themselves in the freezing cold weather? First of all, they need clean feathers, so an unfrozen water source is essential for birds to bathe.
They need water in the winter as well as spring and summer. By placing a electric de-icer in your water source, the birds will stay happy all winter.
 

Home & Patio

Urea is a safer ice melt around lawns, plants and pets, but it only melts ice down to about 15 degrees. If you need to use calcium chloride for cold-temperature ice melting, try to avoid pushing it onto desirable plants. Only use as much ice melt as is necessary and try to keep it in the center of the walk.

We can sharpen your mower blade for a nominal fee. Bring in your lawn mower blade on or off the mower. 
 
 

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